Kelowna residents look to follow Penticton group's lead by fighting petty crime | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna residents look to follow Penticton group's lead by fighting petty crime

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

Penticton residents aren't the only ones fed up with petty crime in their city.

Possibly taking inspiration from a group in Penticton called Clean Streets Penticton, it appears some Kelowna residents want to "take back" their city.

Take Back Kelowna is a Facebook group that launched, July 19. Its founder, a person using the name James Wellington online, is trying to start patrols in the coming weeks in Kelowna, according to posts to the new group.

READ MORE: Penticton vigilante group patrols streets to fight property crime

The patrols appear to be inspired by those in Penticton, where Clean Streets members look for items suspected to be stolen at homeless encampments or shelters.

Founder of the Penticton group, Jason Reynen, is interested in working with RCMP to ensure the patrols are done respectfully, but vigilantism in the form of seizing property has been discouraged by the local detachment and the city's mayor.

Citizen patrol groups are not uncommon and there are official community policing groups in West Kelowna and Penticton already. However, those groups are often trained by and work with RCMP to report crime, not act on it.

READ MORE: Penticton mayor concerned about potential for violence with vigilantes

Reynen said he's been getting messages and calls from people in other cities nearby like West Kelowna and Kamloops, but since getting attention in recent weeks, he said RCMP and bylaw enforcement has "stepped it up."

"Maybe we lit a fire under them," he said.

Wellington wasn't available to immediately comment on this story, but several other media outlets were also trying to reach him. Group members subsequently debated in the Facebook groups comments about whether or not to speak with reporters and who would do it.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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